Impact of disruptions in the pharmaceutical industry – how to build more resilient sales teams


  • Katarina Toković Magriž, Zagreb



The pharmaceutical industry has a central role in the global healthcare system, continually striving to meet the demands of patients, regulatory requirements, and market dynamics. With this role, the pharmaceutical industry is sensitive to disruptions, which can emerge from numerous sources: supply chain vulnerabilities, changes in regulatory demands, technological advancements, and global health crises. This article examines the consequences of disruptions within this sector and their extensive impact on sales. It surveys the fluctuation of sales volumes and revenues of the industry during the last disruption period from 2020 to 2023, especially in Croatia and the European Union. The decision-making processes in pharmaceutical sales management in the observed period had different challenges: the regulatory responses to a crisis, ethical dilemmas, and the need to preserve workplaces. Furthermore, this research explores principal strategies and ideas for building resilience for sales teams in the future.


Ahmed, L., et al. (2016). Leading and Motivating Pharmaceutical Sales Teams through a Strategic Alliance Strategy. Journal of Contemporary Management, 13, 169-189.

Anzola, V., Chen, D. (2021). Increasing Resilience Through Advanced Analytics in a Pharmaceutical Company [Masters Thesis]. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Balfour, H. (2021, December 29). Nearly two years on, how are European pharma supply chains coping with COVID-19? European Pharmaceutical Review.

Belak, J., Duh, M. (2012). Integral Management: Key Success Factors in the MER Model. Acta Polytechnica Hungarica, 9(3), 5-26.

Dukart, H., et al. (2022, October 10). Emerging from disruption: The future of pharma operations strategy. McKinsey & Company.

Dunleavy, K. (2023, April 18). The top 20 pharma companies by 2022 revenue. Fierce Pharma.

European Commission. (2020). Reform of the EU pharmaceutical legislation.

European Commission. (2020, November 25). A pharmaceutical strategy for Europe.

European parliament. (2020, September 17). Texts adopted - Shortage of medicines - how to address an emerging problem.

Francas, D. (2021, January 31). Global Pharmaceutical Supply Chains and Resilience Strategies: Overview and Implications of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Global spending on medicines 2027 forecast (2023, August 23). Statista.

Hartmann, N.H., Lussier, B. (2020, May 7). Managing the sales force through the unexpected exogenous COVID-19 crisis. Managing the Sales Force Through the Unexpected Exogenous COVID-19 Crisis. Industrial Marketing Management, 88, 101-111.

Hub, H. (2021, July 9). Nacionalni plan otpornosti i oporavka 2021.-2026. - Izrada sustava praćenja i preveniranja nestašica lijekova u Hrvatskoj - Health Hub [National Resilience and Recovery Plan 2021-2026. - Creation of a system for monitoring and preventing drug shortages in Croatia - Health Hub]. Health Hub.

Ingram, T.N., LaForge, R.W., Avila, R.A., Schwepker Jr., C.H., & Williams, M.R. (2019). Sales Management: Analysis and Decision Making (10th ed.). Routledge.

IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. (2019, January). The Global Use of Medicine in 2019 and Outlook to 2023 Forecasts and Areas to Watch.

IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. (2023, February). Global trends in R&D 2023 Activity, Productivity, and Enablers.

Lange, M.A., Hernandez-Bark, A. (2020). Leadership Models and Work Behavior: An Empirical Analysis of Consequences of Authentic and Transformational Leadership. In L. Schweizer, T. Dingermann, O.Q. Russe, Ch. Jansen (Eds.), Advances in Pharma Business Management and Research (pp. 45-61). Springer.

Lesmeister, F., Kwasniok, T., Peters, D. (2020, November 19). A Strategy to Make Pharma Supply Chains More Resilient. Bain & Company.

Parsons, L. (2022, August 23). Why is Professional Development Important? Professional Development Harvard Division for Continuing Education.

Statista (2023, March 6). Worldwide pharmaceutical sales by region 2020-2022.

Statista. Pharmaceutical industry in China - statistics & facts (2023, August 31). Statista.

Toković, K., & Deković, D. (2021). Adaptation to changes in the labor market - performance optimization of working at home. In G. Nikolić (Ed.), PILC 2021 - PAR International Leadership Conference Leadership after COVID-19 (pp. 78-90). PAR University College.




How to Cite

Toković, K. (2023). Impact of disruptions in the pharmaceutical industry – how to build more resilient sales teams. International Scientific Conference on Economy, Management and Information Technologies, 1(1), 213–218.